TAIPING, Oct 14 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today chided his party colleagues who have accepted federal or state awards that bestow them with titles like “Datuk”, saying they should refrain from doing so until retirement.
He cited the late Tun Ghafar Baba as an example, noting the former Umno man, who rose to become deputy prime minister, preferred to be addressed as “Encik”, meaning “Mister”, even though he was conferred with a federal award that carried the “Tun” title.
“Learn from Tun Ghafar Baba who only accepted an award after his retirement.
“Show the rakyat that DAP is different from Barisan Nasional (BN). Place more importance on servicing the rakyat,” Lim asked in his opening speech at the Perak DAP convention here.
Ghafar was a lawmaker for 49 years and deputy prime minister under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the latter’s first administration from 1986 to 1993. He reportedly accepted his “Tunship” in 1995 only after Dr Mahathir visited him twice to speak to him about the matter.
Lim said the party does not have a habit of accepting state awards, nor was it in line with DAP’s spirit, as it gave the perception that its leaders were only “gunning for awards”.
The Bagan MP said it was honourable for elected representatives to be called “Yang Berhormat”.
He added that if Karpal Singh were still alive, the former DAP national chairman would have rejected the state award offer.
“It is not meant to be rude, but it is important for party integrity that members are not after positions,” he explained.
He added that party leaders should prove their worth before accepting awards.
“The main duty now is to save the country and economy,” said Lim who is also finance minister.
He added that the DAP central executive committee will meet later this week to discuss members who accept state awards.
Lim was weighing in on several DAP leaders who recently accepted awards that bestowed them with the “Datuk” title.
Melaka DAP chairman and Bandar Hilir assemblyman Tey Kok Kiew and Bemban assemblyman Wong Fort Pin accepted the Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka award during the 80th birthday of the Melaka Yang di-Pertua last Saturday.
Sabah DAP chairman Stephen Wong, state minister Frankie Poon and assistant minister Jimmy Wong were awarded the Panglima Gemilang Darjah Kinabalu last week.
Lim said even Melaka Chief Minister Adly Zahari did not accept the award.